If you want to go further with your purchase conveyancing quote, or even if there is any aspect of your purchase conveyancing quote you’re not sure about, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’re always happy to help, and we’re only a phone call or email away!
About Your Armed Forces Purchase Conveyancing Quote
Your purchase conveyancing quote is made up of a number of different components, some of which we can control, and others which we can’t.
Conveyancing Legal Fees
The first component is the legal fee. This is the fee we charge you for our work. In other words, it is what you pay for our lawyers’ time looking after your purchase.If you compare this to a mechanic or plumber, this is the labour charge for the entire transaction.
The fee varies depending on the price of the property, because the level of responsibility increases for more expensive purchases.
We discount this fee depending on your status in the Forces, or your forces connections.
We don’t charge extra for dealing with mortgages even though we are instructed to advise and act for the mortgage company on the transaction as well as you, so we have to undertake additional work which they don’t pay us for. We also have to advise you on the mortgage deed. It’s obviously important that you should know what your rights and liabilities are before you enter into the biggest financial transaction you’re likely to get involved with.
We charge a small additional fee for leasehold transactions. This is because there is extra work involved in advising you of your rights and duties under the lease document, and ensuring you know what you need to about things like service charges, ground rents, repair obligations for common areas, and other such issues. We also often have to deal with third parties, such as managing agents. Leasehold transactions also attract additional disbursements; fees charged by management companies for providing information about service charges etc, and additional Land Registry charges.
Shared ownership schemes also attract a small extra fee. This is because of the extra work involved in dealing with such schemes, as they involve advice on both a normal mortgage transaction, and on aspects of a lease. There are usually complicated provisions to do with the different shares in the property, management and maintenance, and the rental aspects.
In some cases additional fees may arise, which we will discuss with you if required. One example is that if, once we have all the documents and information necessary to exchange contracts, you require completion with 5 or less working days notice, there will be an additional fee of £99 plus VAT for expediting the work in your case.
Regrettably we also have to charge VAT at the current rate on our fees.
Disbursements are the various other expenses which are associated with purchasing a property and ensuring that you have good legal title and there are no problems with your proposed purchase. Think of them as the parts aspect of the transaction – we have to have them to do a proper job, but we have less ability to control their amount. The disbursements on any transaction will not vary a great deal between solicitors.
We have set out the details of the most common disbursements below:
Stamp Duty Land Tax
This is a tax which the UK Government charges on land and property transactions. The amount depends on the size of the property transaction. We have no control over the amount of tax but we can advise you on how it works. This is always the most significant and sizeable element in any quote we give.
The tax bands are:
Up to £125,000 – 0%
£125,001 to £250,000 – 2% on amount over £125,000
£250,001 to £925,000 – 5% on amount over £250,000
£925,001 to £1,500,000 – 10% on amount over £1.5m
Above £1,500,000 – 12% on that higher amount
To give an example, a purchase at £275,000 would be worked out as follows:
First £125,000 – Zero tax
Second £125,000, taking it up to £250,000 – 2%, so £2,500
Last £25,000, taking it up to £275,000 – 5%, so £1,250
Total SDLT bill £3,750
In addition, if you already own residential property a further 3% of SDLT is charged.
Where you are purchasing in England you can check your SDLT at HMRC SDLT calculator. If you are purchasing in Wales then you will pay Land Transaction Tax to the Welsh Revenue Authority and you can access their calculator.
When paying your Stamp Duty Land Tax we have to submit a detailed form which sets out the necessary figures for HMRC to determine and settle the SDLT liability.
This is a small fee for verifying your identity. All solicitors and other regulated professionals must be satisfied who they’re dealing with in order to reduce the risk of money laundering. Again, this is a legal requirement, but the fee is very small.
This is a small fee to check with the Official Receiver that no party to the transaction is a bankrupt. Where there is a bankruptcy interest it is necessary to deal with the trustee in bankruptcy or the Official Receiver in respect of the bankrupt’s interest in the property. This is most relevant in mortgaged transactions and is charged at £2 per name.
Land Registry Registration Fee
A small fee charged by HM Land Registry to register the change in ownership. This helps to secure your interest in the property once you’ve bought it. We use the online portal wherever possible, because that keeps the fee down for you. Regrettably not all transactions can be entered via the portal; where that happens we will advise you and a higher fee will be payable.
The other sizeable disbursement in any purchase is the search fee component. We have negotiated a special deal for our clients which provides the main searches: official Local Authority search and Local Land Charges search(CON29), official Drainage and Water Search (CON29DW) and an Environmental search. We can offer these for a fixed price bundle at £299 inclusive of VAT. In some cases you may be advised to carry out additional searches, the most common of which are mining searches (to locate old mine workings which may cause subsidence) and HS2 searches (is a part of the new line going next to your proposed garden…) As these are property specific we have to advise after we have considered your purchase, however the cost of these additional searches is usually modest, for example £37 for a mining search.
Searches are enquiries we make with various official organisations to ensure that there are no hidden problems with your proposed purchase. It will tell you a variety of things, ranging from whether the Council is about to have a road built through your back garden, whether the house was built on top of an old rubbish dump, whether you might suffer subsidence because there’s an old mine underneath it, and even whether there might be radioactive Radon gas in the area! If you’re buying in the HS2 area we can check the route of that, or if you’re near a church we can find out whether you need insurance to pay for chancel repairs (some old buildings require local homeowners to pay for the upkeep of the church!)
We also check with the Land Registry that there have been no changes to the Register in the period since we obtained your Office Copy of the document. This, referred to as an OS1 search, makes sure that changes such as new mortgages have been taken out on the property in the meantime.
It’s important you have these checks undertaken to make sure there are no problems later. If a search picks up something of concern you can decide whether you still wish to go ahead, and you can take out insurance for the risk that there may be a problem. If you don’t have the searches done you may find there is a major or expensive difficulty later on.
The principle of caveat emptor (buyer beware) also applies here. Once contracts have been exchanged any liability is with the buyer of the property, so it is important before the exchange of contracts to make sure that there are no hidden liabilities or problems. Our expert conveyancing advice, and an appropriate bundle of searches, will protect you from these risks.
The banks charge us a sum for sending money through their system. All funds in purchases are sent electronically via the banking network, and we have to pay the fee the bank levies for this.
Please note that the Armed Forces Lawyers Conveyancing service is exclusively for residential property, and does not extend to commercial, agricultural transactions, purchases of part of a property, or transactions which relate to the sale or purchase of land exclusively. All such transactions, even the sale of a small part of a garden, amount to commercial property work and are significantly more labour intensive.
On occasion other disbursements may arise during the course of the transaction. We will always discuss these with you when they arise. Leasehold transactions also attract additional disbursements; fees charged by management companies for providing information about service charges etc, and additional Land Registry charges, as well as fees charged by management companies and landlords or agents for giving notice for certain things, or providing certificates which are necessary secure registration of the purchase.